To cinema's cognoscenti, Lelouch's name is mud, yet this three-hour folly makes the mud seem not so much unjustified as inappropriate. True, Lelouch rarely finds images to match the ambitions of his story (there are four multi-national musical families, journeying through the 20th century); and for all the inspiration in authentic histories, the lives of his dancers, bandleaders, Auschwitz survivors, conductors, pop stars, waifs and strays, are still gilded clichés. But there is a point when the director's fatuity becomes sublime. The growling spectator is swept along by plot absurdities, camera pirouettes, and the unfashionable drift towards happiness; by the time the finale is reached, with Ravel's 'Bolero' played, danced and sung in front of the Eiffel Tower (in Dolby stereo), one's scruples lie in smithereens. At one point the narrator berates history for lacking imagination; history, as revealed here, certainly lacks taste, and its imagination could be toned up, but there's no shortage of silly entertainment.